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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  August 9, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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so you can easily master the way you bank. captioning funded by cbs and ford >> pelley: this berm marks the border between syria and jordan. the refugees that we ran into were coming across the top of the berm and turning themselves in to the safety of the jordanian border officers. more than a million have crossed into jordan so far during the four-year civil war in syria. it is a war where starvation is a weapon, and the u.s. is playing a major role in feeding the hungry. >> this is a real human brain. >> rose: one of the earliest ted talks posted was literally about what was going on inside the head of neurobiologist jill bolte taylor. >> and i realized, "oh, my gosh,
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i'm having a stroke! i'm having a stroke!" >> rose: taylor's talk went viral... >> we need mathematicians.. >> rose: ...and soon, internet users couldn't get enough of ted talks. >> every child... >> rose: a million views turned into a billion, and now it is an internet phenomenon. >> i've been to the future. >> want to join me? ( cheers and applause ) >> stahl: damian aspinall likes to play tug of war with tigers and pet rhinos on his very own wildlife refuge in england. but gorillas are his best buddies, and wrestling with them is his favorite pastime. >> now, the tricky thing is getting out. >> stahl: but damian is controversial because of his efforts to move his zoo-born gorillas to the wilds of africa, a project conservationists
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warned us might not go well. >> kroft: i'm steve kroft. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. >> safer: i'm morley safer. >> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker >> rose: i'm charlie rose. >> pelley: i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60
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minutes." >> pelley: the world food programme might be just one of the best ideas america ever had. w.f.p. is the emergency first responder to hunger anywhere on the globe. the united nations launched w.f.p. in 1961 at the urging of
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the united states. and today, the u.s. government still pays the biggest part of the bill as the world food programme feeds 80 million people a year. we first brought you this story in november as w.f.p. faced its greatest challenge, confronting war and hunger. and that's what's happening still today in syria, where you will find heroes of the world food programme saving the most vulnerable people in what looked to us like the edge of oblivion. the map said, "no man's land." last summer, we plowed the border of jordan and syria, where the military told us we would find war refugees. but considering the wasteland, it seemed more likely the map was right. who could survive here? but after several hours, we found them, pouring over the land like a flash flood. with 300 miles behind them,
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these syrian families made their final steps through a war that nearly killed them and a desert that could have finished the job. watch a moment, and listen. this berm marks the border between syria and jordan. the refugees that we ran into were coming across the top of the berm and turning themselves in to the safety of the jordanian border officers here. more than a million have crossed into jordan so far during the three-year civil war in syria. they had been farmers, shopkeepers, office workers. now, they shared one occupation- - saving the children, with matted hair and faces covered in ten days of misery. we noticed the little ones around halima. turns out, she's the mother of
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nine. why did you come? "there's bombing all around us," she said. "i'm afraid for my children. but i don't know what will become of us now." you don't know what's coming next, but you know this must be better than where you came from? she had taken five of her children. her husband took four by another route. and they hope to find one another. halima said they managed to save everyone in her family. but as for the fate of others in her town, no translation was needed. >> andrew harper: this is happening every day. every day, we are getting hundreds of people, sometimes up to 1,000 people fleeing the violence, fleeing the deprivation in syria and coming across into jordan. >> pelley: andrew harper is in charge in jordan for the united nations high commissioner for refugees.
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what kind of shape are they in when they come at the end of this journey? >> harper: it's horrific. we're seeing, like, children coming across now without any shoes. often they've only got one pair of clothes, some of them are just wearing their pajamas, because when their... when their places were bombed, they had nothing to grab to leave. >> pelley: the u.n. refugee relief agency and jordanian troops met the families, gave them food and water, and loaded them up for the trip to a u.n. camp. there was room for everyone on the trucks, but no mother would take that chance. they pressed their children in first. parents had sacrificed all they had to see this moment. and a long dead emotion began to stir. it felt like hope. you know, this war's been going on for three years. why are these people still coming now? >> harper: because it's getting worse. it's... i think now, more than
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ever, there is absolutely no hope for the future at the moment in syria. >> pelley: part of what has stolen hope inside syria is hunger. starvation is a weapon in the war that began as an uprising against the dictator, bashar al assad. these words read "kneel or starve," signed "assad's soldiers." all sides are laying siege to communities and cutting off the food. this is what happened in a neighborhood called yarmouk in january of 2014 when a food convoy broke through. the people had eaten the dogs and the cats, and were running low on leaves and grass. this girl eventually starved to death, five miles or so from a supermarket. >> etharin cousin: are we willing to lose a generation of children to hunger? to lack of access to medicines? to lack of access to water while we wait until the fighting stops? no, we can't. >> pelley: etharin cousin is executive director of the world
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food programme. she's a former food industry executive from chicago. w.f.p. is often headed by an american because the u.s. donates more than a third of the $4 billion annual budget. >> cousin: the operation in syria is one of the largest that we have ever operated in w.f.p. we have over 3,000 trucks supporting 45,000 metric tons of food delivered every month inside syria. >> pelley: all of that and your people are getting shot at. >> cousin: all of that and people are getting shot at. it's a war zone. it's a conflict zone. the world doesn't stop, the war doesn't stop, the conflict doesn't end because people need to eat. >> pelley: the world food programme estimates that more than six million syrians do not know where their next meal is coming from. >> matthew hollingworth: these are areas where people have nothing. they really do have nothing. >> pelley: matthew hollingworth leads the world food programme
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mission inside syria. in february of 2014, he led an armored column into the city of homs, which had been sealed off by the dictatorship for 600 days. >> hollingworth: people were skin and bones. i could lift a grown man because he'd got to about 40 kilos. >> pelley: 85 pounds or so? >> hollingworth: exactly. >> pelley: in the city of homs, months of negotiations had opened a three-day cease-fire to distribute food. but it turned out the starving residents wanted something else first. >> hollingworth: the people of old homs asked us to evacuate women, children, and the sick before any assistance came in. so we went through the last checkpoint, and there we could see in front of us 80 or 90 children, women, and sick and injured people waiting to come out. and then the worst thing happened-- the sniping started. >> pelley: people were shooting at you. >> hollingworth: people started to shoot at us. so we took the decision then to put the vehicles, the armored
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vehicles in front of the... the area where they were shooting down in the alley to allow the people to come out. it was a hugely moving experience. and we successfully brought them out. this opened the way the following day for us to go into homs and deliver the first assistance. and we did that successfully, but halfway through, sadly, the fire. ( explosions ) >> hollingworth: it was panic, chaos. people screaming, people running everywhere. the hot metal flying around you. >> pelley: you decided to stay, and i wonder why. >> hollingworth: we'd seen the faces of the people who were asking us to help them, asking united nations to help them in their time of crisis, which is why we're here. so we again negotiated with all the sides to, this time, obey the cease-fire, to respect the cease-fire. and we went in the following day and the next day and the next day, and the rest is history. >> pelley: history records that,
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in homs, w.f.p. evacuated 1,300 people and brought in enough food to feed 2,500 others for a month. but elsewhere in syria, more than one million remain beyond reach. >> november the fifth, 2013... >> pelley: we know they're there because we can hear their pleas for help. kassem eid, from the damascus suburb called moadamiyeh, put out a series of videos on youtube. >> ...in a protest to the world to enter the humanitarian aids to the besieged city of moadamiyeh. >> pelley: after several videos begged for someone to break the siege, eid made his way out of syria. >> people are starving to death while food and medicine is only two minutes away behind the assad checkpoints. >> pelley: tell me what you witnessed, what you saw with your own eyes. >> even while the regime is bombing, nobody cared. it seems like, if you die from
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the shelling, it will be a merciful way to die instead of dying from hunger, because it will take months to die from hunger. people lost faith with the world, with their families, even with god. nobody understood that we can die from hunger in the 21st century in syria. >> pelley: the regime shelled moadamiyeh to rubble, used nerve gas on the population, but it was starvation... >> yes. >> pelley: ...that broke the town. >> that's absolutely true. it can destroy your soul, your mind, your beliefs, before it can destroy your body. nobody in this world, no matter who he is, deserves to die from hunger.
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nobody. >> pelley: that is the principle on which the world food programme was founded, an idea in the eisenhower administration, after 70 million people around the world starved to death in the first half of the 20th century. today, w.f.p. is in 75 countries plagued by war or weather. it has an air force, a navy, and an army of 14,000 people. but emergency response is just part of what it does. the world food programme prevents famines by teaching farming. it uses its vast purchasing power to support small farms. all of this, despite the fact that w.f.p. gets no funding from the united nations. it raises its budget entirely from donations by governments, companies, and individuals. but in syria, the need is so great, the money is falling
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short. we got a sense of the scale of that need by flying over the latest u.n. refugee camp with the jordanian police and the u.n.'s andrew harper. >> harper: we're looking at probably one of the world's largest refugee camps. >> pelley: the refugee families we saw earlier at the border were headed here. you have built this for 130,000 refugees. do you think you're going to have that many? at this, there's about 6.5 million people displaced in syria. i think we may even need to build more than this. >> pelley: when the u.n. camps opened, the world food programme served three meals a day. but it soon discovered that these families hungered for more than just a meal. >> cousin: what they're receiving is not food. but they're actually receiving a voucher which will give them the ability to decide what food their family can eat for the month. >> pelley: why do you do that? >> cousin: it gives them a choice, more than anything else,
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and its gives them respect. >> pelley: respect because the vouchers are a ticket here. where there was only desert, the world food programme has built supermarkets like any in america. osama and his wife led nine children through the desert after their daughter was wounded by a mortar. each member of his family now gets a w.f.p. voucher for $29 a month. the difference between being fed out of the back of a truck and cooking your own meal is dignity. >> cousin: it's dignity. it's providing your children with some hope. >> pelley: back on the border, in the last moments of the day, we ran into another exodus-- families pressing through no man's land on a path marked only by the desperate steps of those who'd come before. jordanian troops crossed into syria to lift a woman who had stopped short, saying, "mother, we are on the border." over the summer, jordan severely
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restricted the numbers that it would accept on its borders, and the world food programme was forced to cut back its rations for lack of funds. but millions more are on the move, and the days of war remain uncounted. >> cbs money watch update brought to you in part by: >> glor: good evening. warren buffer et's berkshire-hathaway is reportedly close to its biggest deal ever. social security turns 80 years old on friday. and the famous white ferrari don johnson drove in "miami vice" is going up for auction at monterey car week.
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>> rose: it has become a place where big ideas find a global audience. it is known simply as "ted," and ted talks are little presentations that anyone can watch online for free. there are ted talks on almost every subject you can imagine-- building your own nuclear reactor; stopping cyber-bullies; exploring antarctica; a better way to tie your shoes. but what sets ted talks apart is that the big ideas are wrapped up in personal stories, and they're mostly from people you have never heard of before. as we first told you in april, it is those stories that have captured the imaginations of tens of millions of viewers around the world. giving a ted talk can be life- changing, even if some speakers don't always realize what they're getting into.
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>> bryan stevenson: i'd never heard of ted and i didn't know what a ted talk was. >> rose: but bryan stevenson was exactly the sort of person the people at ted wanted. he was an attorney who'd spent years trying to reform the criminal justice system. they thought he'd have a lot to say. he said yes, then he remembered a serious conflict on his calendar. >> stevenson: it was scheduled two weeks before i had an argument at the u.s. supreme court. and i told one of my young staffers somebody named ted wanted me to come and do a ted talk and i told them no. and my staffer went crazy, said, "what are you talking about? you have to do a ted talk." >> rose: and what did they say, though, to convince you? >> stevenson: "this is really a big deal. it's an incredible platform. you should absolutely do it. everybody watches ted talks." being here at ted and seeing the stimulation... >> rose: in march of 2012, bryan stevenson took the stage at the annual ted conference in long beach, california. he was one of more than 60 speakers that week. >> stevenson: we have a system
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of justice in this country that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent. wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. >> rose: he made the case for changing the criminal justice system with the same mixture of passion and logic that he uses to persuade judges and juries. he introduced his equal justice initiative in a disarmingly personal way. >> stevenson: i had the great privilege when i was a young lawyer of meeting rosa parks, and ms. parks turned to me and she said, "now, bryan, tell me what the equal justice initiative is. tell me what you're trying to do." and i began giving her my rap. i said, "well, we're trying to challenge injustice. we're trying to help people who have been wrongly convicted. we're trying to confront bias and discrimination in the administration of criminal justice. we're trying to end life without parole sentences for children. we're trying to do something about the death penalty. we're trying to reduce the prison population. we're trying to end mass incarceration." i gave her my whole rap, and when i finished, she looked at me and she said, "mm, mm, mm." she said, "that's going to make you tired, tired, tired."
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( laughter ) >> rose: and with that, he had them. >> stevenson: i've simply come to tell you, "keep your eyes on the prize, hold on." thank you very much. ( cheers and applause ) >> rose: when you ended it, did you think you'd done a good job? >> stevenson: people were very enthusiastic and responded in a really wonderful way. >> rose: that's what we call a standing ovation. >> stevenson: yes, yes. ( cheers and applause ) >> rose: the crowd also offered financial support, which was unprecedented, since ted talks are not about raising money. >> stevenson: some people came up to me and they said, "you know, we think that what you're doing is really quite extraordinary. there are a lot of people in this room who want to support you." and i had to leave. >> rose: you had another engagement in seattle? >> stevenson: i did. and so, i said, "well, i can't stay." and much to my amazement, we raised a million dollars. >> rose: a million dollars? >> stevenson: a million dollars. >> rose: and this is happening without you there. >> stevenson: without me there, yeah, exactly. >> rose: and what difference did raising a million dollars at an event that you knew nothing about make for the cause that you've devoted your life to? >> stevenson: hundreds and hundreds of people were now going to have a chance to get
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fairer sentences. >> rose: and it didn't end at the speech, because you have this thing called the internet? >> stevenson: yes, that's exactly right. even now, i get lots and lots of people who are responding to the ted talk. >> you're an inspiring person... >> rose: the person who put bryan stevenson on the stage was chris anderson, the man who runs ted. he chooses the speakers, he hosts ted conferences, and he decides which talks go online. >> chris anderson: there are numerous brilliant people out there, and they've come up with something really important. and so part of the way we see our role is to help them make their knowledge accessible. >> rose: it's a campfire, in part, isn't it? >> anderson: it is a campfire. someone stands up, everyone's eyes are upon them, they tell a story. >> rose: the story of ted began with a small conference in the 1980s... >> it can record one hour... >> rose: ...where bold new ideas were presented about technology, entertainment and design-- "ted," for short. >> ...digital likeness, visual technology... >> we've had so many people...
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>> rose: anderson was a successful magazine publisher. he attended his first ted conference in 1998 and fell in love with what he heard there, and so he bought ted and turned it into a non-profit organization. in 2006, as something of an experiment, he put a handful of conference talks online. the reaction was almost immediate. >> anderson: we started to get emails that said things like, "i'm sitting at my computer screen crying." >> rose: an emotional connection. >> anderson: and... and a passionate connection, like these... these talks had got inside people's heads and >> jill bolte taylor: so, this is a real human brain... >> rose: one of the earliest ted talks posted was literally about what was going on inside the head of neurobiologist jill bolte taylor. >> taylor: then i realized, "oh, my gosh, i'm having a stroke! i'm having a stroke!" and the next thing my brain says to me is, "wow! this is so cool!"
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( laughter ) "this is so cool! how many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?" ( laughter ) viral. >> we need mathematicians... >> rose: and soon, internet >> ...every child... into a billion... >> rose: and now, it is an internet phenomenon. there are all sorts of ted conferences being held around the world daily. ted started its own website, ted.com. it has 2,000 talks on just about every subject imaginable. >> i can tell you with great confidence, i've been to the future. >> i am 17 years old and i am a nuclear physicist. ( cheering ) >> rose: it's something of an intellectual variety show and it is free. >> thank you... >> i was patient zero... >> rose: it was front-page news when monica lewinsky recently gave a ted talk on cyber-
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bullying. how does chris anderson decide who gets the opportunity? >> anderson: there's no formula or algorithm that says what is right. it's basically a judgment call as to what is interesting and what is interesting now. >> countless men around the world... >> rose: anderson and his team spend much of their time auditioning... >> it's become a common complaint. >> damn! >> rose: ... and looking for the next great story. >> for the past two years, i've spent thousands of hours working with invasive breast cancer cells in the lab. >> rose: a great ted talk demands careful planning. most speakers get months of preparation and coaching. >> changing slightly that core question may make the rest of the talk land just a bit more clearly. >> rose: there are a few rules-- there is no selling of a product or a book from the stage; no pseudo-science is allowed; and there is an 18-minute time limit. why 18 minutes? >> anderson: it's a natural human attention span. it's an extended coffee break. you can listen to something serious that long without
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getting bored or exhausted. >> rose: the goal is to make it to a ted conference and then get your talk posted online. people line up for the chance to make a ted talk. they hope to be the next amy cuddy. >> amy cuddy: we're really fascinated with body language. >> rose: she was a largely unknown psychology professor at harvard until she took the ted stage in 2012. >> cuddy: so what is your body language communicating to me, what's mine communicating to you? >> rose: cuddy's talk was about her research into nonverbal communication, but it was her personal story that captured the imagination of the audience. >> cuddy: when i was 19, i was in a really bad car accident. i was thrown out of a car, and i woke up in a head injury rehab ward, and i learned that my i.q. had dropped by two standard deviations. >> rose: she agonized about revealing she had suffered a traumatic brain injury in that car accident.
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>> cuddy: i felt deep ambivalence, and also "what have i done?" >> rose: ambivalence? >> cuddy: yes, have i changed my life in a way that i.. that i'll regret? will my colleagues think i'm stupid? the head injury story was was something that i had mostly kept locked away. watched ted talk in the last two years. >> cuddy: that's what chris tells me, yes. >> rose: according to chris anderson, she's had almost 26 million views. it has turned amy cuddy into a star in this new ted-created universe. she's hot on the lecture circuit and has a new book coming out. chris anderson and ted can make someone's career. do you like the power that it gives you? >> anderson: i don't think in terms of power usually... >> rose: it does give you power. you can sit there and change somebody's life by putting... making them a ted speaker. if you make those choices, then you have power.
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>> anderson: well, i would phrase it more as responsibility, but a joyful one. i do love the fact that someone can give a talk, and a few months later, can be known by millions of people around the world. ( laughter ) >> reporter: but for maysoon zayid, the fame she received was not the fame she was looking for. >> maysoon zayid: i got 99 problems, and palsy is just one. >> rose: she's a comedian, and when she appeared on the ted stage a year and a half ago, she had a punch line... >> zayid: i'm palestinian, muslim, i'm female, i'm disabled, and i live in new jersey. ( laughter ) >> rose: ...and she had a serious point. >> zayid: people with disabilities are the largest minority in the world, and we are the most underrepresented in entertainment. ( cheers and applause ) >> rose: she also had an agenda. >> zayid: i actually thought that once the talk was done, my career would skyrocket.
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i want to be on tv, and i thought that the ted talk would open the door for more real-life opportunities with me. >> rose: and that's what ted did not do? >> zayid: and that's what ted didn't do. but what it did do is it amplified my voice worldwide. >> rose: with almost seven million views of her talk, which was translated into several languages, she believes she's succeeded in a different way. >> zayid: i didn't expect to hear from so many people that felt the talk was about them. >> rose: how did you change the lives of people who are disabled? >> zayid: i think the change occurs mostly on an individual basis. what i think i've done is help people go out there and say, "i have a disability. i shake all the time. it's totally fine. you need to treat me as an equal even if, physically, i'm different than you." and i think what i've done is really empower people to be proud of who they are. a lot of people with c.p. don't walk... >> rose: critics of ted-- and there are some-- believe that
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this emphasis on the personal stories has turned ted talks into infotainment, offering easy answers to serious problems. but don't count bryan stevenson among the skeptics. he traces part of the current public debate about reforming the criminal justice system back to the ted talk he gave in 2012. and while he is grateful for the money that ted raised, he's even more appreciative of the platform. did your experience at ted change you in any way? >> stevenson: well, it did. it made me more hopeful about what can be achieved if you change the narrative. >> rose: is there something about ted you want to change? >> stevenson: i think the challenge is getting people who consume all of this wonderful stuff that ted provides to not just be consumers, but to take what they learn and know and hear, and turn it into some kind of action that may be a little uncomfortable, that may be a little inconvenient, but will absolutely be transformative, to
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making these great ideas... really ideas that not only spread but create a greater world. >> and now a cbs sports update brought to you by prevnar. at the world golf championship bridgestone invitational in akron, ohio, ireland's shane lowery shot a final round 66 to win by two over bubba watson. the game pga tour status now for lowery. major league baseball, the jays earned their eighth straight win, sweeping the yankees. the rays over the mets. for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. this is jim nantz reporting from firestone country club. what if one push up could prevent heart disease? [man grunts] one wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease-pneumococcal pneumonia. one dose of the prevnar 13 vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia. an illness that can cause coughing,
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chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. prevnar 13 is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13 if you've had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients. if you have a weakened immune system, you may have a lower response to the vaccine. common side effects were pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site, limited arm movement, fatigue, headache, muscle or joint pain, less appetite, chills or rash. even if you've already been vaccinated with another pneumonia vaccine, prevnar 13 may help provide additional protection. get this one done. ask your healthcare professional about prevnar 13 today. yes, we are twins. when i went on to ancestry, i just put in the name of my parents and my grandparents. i was getting all these leaves and i was going back generation after generation. you start to see documents and you see signatures of people that you've never met. i mean, you don't know these people, but you feel like you do. you get connected to them. i wish that i could get into a time machine and go back 100 years, 200 years and just meet these people.
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>> stahl: more americans go to zoos every year than to professional baseball, football, hockey, and basketball games combined. we get to encounter the dangers of the wild from the safety of suburbia. but increasingly, zoos see their mission as not just displaying animals, but also saving endangered species.
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and that raises an interesting question-- can endangered animals born and bred in captivity be released into the wild? as we first reported in march, a conservation group called the aspinall foundation is trying to find out. it's run by damian aspinall, a multi-millionaire who owns a chain of casinos in england, but his biggest gamble involves his animals. they say that the english can be eccentric, but damian aspinall takes the cake. this 54-year-old likes to play tug-of-war with tigers and pet black rhinos. but gorillas are his best buddies, and wrestling with them is his favorite pastime. >> damian aspinall: they're part of my family and i'm part of their family. they see me as an intricate part of their lives. and when i look after these animals, they're my equal. now, the tricky thing is getting
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out! i'm not allowed to leave. >> stahl: damian gets to do this because he oversees this 500- acre wildlife park that looks like the serengeti, but is in kent, england, surrounding damian's country estates. the zoo was started by his wealthy and no-less-eccentric father, who liked to take a dip in the pool with the tigers and let the gorillas roam about the grounds. when you were a little boy, were the gorillas your playmates? >> aspinall: yeah, without question, the problem being, of course, that you never had any human friends because no parents would ever let you have a play date. >> stahl: when damian took over the zoo, he set out to save the species-- over 130 critically endangered western lowland gorillas have been bred here, more than at any other zoo on earth. also, 30 near-extinct black rhinos, 180 tigers, and 140 rare clouded leopards-- but not to
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keep them. it wasn't long before damian decided that zoos are immoral; they're jails that lock up the innocent for life. so his goal now is to set all the animals that were born here free. >> aspinall: if i could extinguish all zoos over the next 30 years, including my own, i would. i wouldn't hesitate. >> stahl: and you don't think, as many do, that the zoo animal is an ambassador, and that they educate the public who then, in turn, become more interested in conservation. >> aspinall: please show me the statistical evidence that zoos educate. and that education that they claim they're doing has helped animals in the wild. there is no evidence, because it's a lie. >> stahl: but if you go to a zoo, you should see the faces of children when they actually see an animal. >> aspinall: but that's so wrong. they should... their face should be one of disgust. that's what's so wrong. we've culturalized them that, "oh, those animals are here for our pleasure."
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they're not. we don't have the right, as a species, to take animals to pleasure our children. that disgusts me. these poor animals. >> stahl: so this zookeeper who hates zoos announced that he was going to send an entire family of zoo gorillas to africa-- a silverback named djala, his five wives, and four infants-- a project no other zoo would even consider. why isn't anybody else doing it? >> aspinall: because they don't believe in it. considered mavericks, you know... >> stahl: you're actually considered a little nutty. >> aspinall: yeah. but that's such a good thing. because it's only the nutty people who ever get anything done in this world. >> stahl: but these giants are actually very fragile. they get stressed and even depressed by change, finding it hard to adapt to new environments, especially the adults. you know, people think "well, we're going to send them home to africa." this is home. they were born here. why would they want to go back if they're living a cushy...? >> aspinall: why wouldn't they want to go back? >> stahl: well, because it's cushy here. >> aspinall: but... so you
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decide that? >> stahl: but you're deciding to send them back. >> aspinall: because that's where they belong. i'm not really deciding anything. they're... for 50,000 years have evolved in this forest. that's surely where they belong, not after 12 years living in... living in a zoo. >> stahl: but isn't it dangerous for the animals to release them into the wild if they've been raised in a place like this where they're pampered and they're fed. how can they survive in the wild? >> aspinall: man always underestimates the intelligence of wild animals. you have to help them on their way. but if you leave them be, they'll pick it up immediately. >> stahl: to help them on their way, damian created gorilla school in his mansion's backyard, where he himself taught these english-born infants survival basics like how to climb a tree and avoid poison berries. still, sending the family of ten gorillas to africa was a massive undertaking. they had to be sedated and
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couriered-- you couldn't make this up-- by dhl! was that hard for you? you're basically sending your family away. >> aspinall: honestly, no. i'm so proud that they're going where they belong. if i didn't do it, i would not live easy within myself. >> stahl: the gorillas were flown to gabon and taken by raft to this dense forest-- about a million acres that he bought and turned into a national park to protect animals like the western lowland gorillas, whose numbers keep dwindling due to habitat destruction and poaching. i'm wondering why the poachers even want gorillas. they don't have horns, they don't have ivory. >> aspinall: bush meat. they'll eat the gorillas. >> stahl: they... they are poaching them to... >> aspinall: they'll cut the hands off... >> stahl: ...to eat them? >> aspinall: ...and sell them as ashtrays. the babies are taken for pet trade. >> stahl: to keep them safe, the gorillas were taken at first to an island to acclimate. damian's staff continued to feed them and give them medicines like malaria pills.
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this wasn't his first time sending gorillas here. he had already sent 12 from his zoo, but they were all babies who hadn't adapted yet to the zoo. he's taken many trips to see how they're doing. he says most of them have survived and multiplied. but on one visit, that he videotaped, he was concerned about one of them, kwibi, who hadn't been seen in a long time. >> aspinall: and i went up the river and called for him. he obviously heard my call and he came down to the edge of the river. and i jumped out of the boat and i went to see him, and he greeted me with a fantastic gurgle, love gurgle. we sat there together, and he was so sweet, and he introduced me to all his wives. thank you. then, when i wanted to leave, he wouldn't let me leave. he clung onto me very tightly.
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he wanted me to stay. but you know, i know the best thing for him was for me not to stay, and he's wild and let him be wild. i'll come see you tomorrow, okay? all right, i'll come see you tomorrow. >> stahl: looks idyllic, but conservationists we spoke to were critical of damian, some calling his work a vanity project. >> tara stoinski: maybe it makes him feel good. he has a relationship with these animals and he wants to do well for them. and he thinks that taking them back to africa will be doing that. but it... it's not conservation. >> stahl: tara stoinski is president of the dian fossey gorilla fund, run out of zoo atlanta, home to the largest collection of gorillas in north america. she says returning a handful of zoo animals can't begin to counter the vast numbers that are lost every year, so damian's money would be better spent saving gorillas already in the wild. >> stoinski: we need all hands on deck right now to be conserving wild populations. we need funds to be going into saving these wild places so that
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the animals that are living there currently can continue to survive. >> stahl: you know, there's just something kind of, i think, in us, intuitively in us, that we want to see these animals roaming free. >> stoinski: i think that humans have a very romantic notion of what the wild is like, and the wild is not a place where it is safe and animals get to roam free and make choices. they have to find food, they have to avoid predators, they have to find mates. and then, you add on top of that, all of the challenges that humans are imposing, whether it be hunting, habitat loss, disease. i think the challenges that these wild populations face are huge. >> stahl: one year after the silverback from kent, djala, and his family were sent to gabon, we went with damian to see how they were coping. >> aspinall: here we are! >> stahl: we snaked down the mpassa river, but there was no sign of djala through the dense vegetation. then, a glimpse of eyes and
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limbs through the trees. as our boat approached, the females and infants came slowly into the clearing. >> aspinall: they're so calm. it's such a beautiful thing to see! i mean, how happy do they look? >> stahl: but when djala came forward, he didn't look all that happy. now. he's protecting his females. he's looking at me. >> stahl: but damian was ecstatic. as they settled on the grass in front of us... >> aspinall: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. >> stahl: a full house. did you give the baby a name? >> aspinall: that's akou. >> stahl: akou? damian began tossing them coconuts, sugar cane and bananas. >> aspinall: that's tamki. she's calling for some. hey! >> stahl: she keeps wanting more! >> aspinall: you're so silly. she's smart, though, because she get more than anyone else. >> stahl: do you think that you have brought them home? >> aspinall: without any question. yeah. >> stahl: but they weren't totally free yet.
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damian's idea was to complete this bridge only when he felt they could fend for themselves. >> aspinall: and just over the other side of that bridge is the true wilderness. >> stahl: they don't swim. >> aspinall: no. so, here, they're protected because they're on an island. but once they cross the bridge, they'll come across elephants and leopards and other gorillas. djala's going to be, you know, defending his females. he might lose some of his females. it could become very stressful. >> stahl: you mean, other males... >> aspinall: other males, yeah. >> stahl: ... who are there wild... >> aspinall: yes, wild, who want his females. >> stahl: ...will challenge him for his females. but damian thinks this family is put the final planks on the bridge. then, he tries to lure the gorillas over with-- but of course-- food. >> aspinall: come on! come on! >> stahl: wouldn't you know it? the females venture out first. and once again, djala follows their lead. djala's going in. >> aspinall: brilliant. >> stahl: oh, my goodness. and look at the babies, the second one. oh, my gosh. >> aspinall: that's wonderful, >> stahl: that's one-year-old
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akou. within an hour, all ten had crossed over. >> aspinall: this is the >> stahl: the ultimate goal. >> aspinall: this is the holy grail. >> stahl: although they will get on this side and inevitably face dangers that they're not really prepared for... >> aspinall: yeah, they will. the problem will be is when the other males turn up here. they have been quite near in the last few days, so i suspect they are quite near. hours, they'll be coming to investigate. >> aspinall: oh, boy. yeah. >> stahl: if only we could end on an optimistic note. but we can't. a month after the gorillas crossed the bridge, damien's team found all five adult females dead, including tamki, as well as baby akou, an outcome so many of damien's critics predicted. so what does this mean for his experiment? we remembered what he said back in kent. >> aspinall: it may be a disaster. and if it's a disaster and they
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all die, all those people will jump up and down and say, "he was an idiot." fine. i'm willing to take that. i don't care. i don't seek popularity. i'm the ambassador for these animals. i'm here to protect those animals and give them their chance to go back into the wild. because what i don't believe in is they should spend the rest of their lives in captivity. >> stahl: damian's best guess is that a wild male silverback attacked the family-- killing some on the spot, others dying from injury, infections, or stress. he called it "a hell of a setback," but is determined to send more gorillas into the wild. >> who would let gorillas be his daughter's playmates? damian aspinall.
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